Modulation of Orthographic Decoding by Frontal Cortex
Whaley, Meagan Lee
Kadipasaoglu, Cihan Mehmet
Cox, Steven James
Opinions are divided on whether word reading processes occur in a hierarchical, feedforward fashion or within an interactive framework. To critically evaluate these competing theories, we recorded electrocorticographic (ECoG) data from 15 human patients with intractable epilepsy during a word completion task and evaluated brain network dynamics across individuals. We used a novel technique of analyzing multihuman ECoG recordings to identify cortical regions most relevant to processing lexical information. The mid fusiform gyrus showed the strongest, earliest response after stimulus onset, whereas activity was maximal in frontal, dorsal lateral prefrontal, and sensorimotor regions toward articulation onset. To evaluate interregional functional connectivity, ECoG data from electrodes situated over specific cortical regions of interest were fit into linear multivariate autoregressive (MVAR) models. Spectral characteristics of the MVAR models were used to precisely reveal the timing and the magnitude of information flow between localized brain regions. This is the first application of MVAR for developing a comprehensive account of interregional interactions from a word reading ECoG dataset. Our comprehensive findings revealed both top-down and bottom-up influences between higher-level language areas and the mid fusiform gyrus. Our findings thus challenge strictly hierarchical, feedforward views of word reading and suggest that orthographic processes are modulated by prefrontal and sensorimotor regions via an interactive framework.